Pregnant women benefit from massage therapy

J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 1999 Mar;20(1):31-8. doi: 10.3109/01674829909075574.


Twenty-six pregnant women were assigned to a massage therapy or a relaxation therapy group for 5 weeks. The therapies consisted of 20-min sessions twice a week. Both groups reported feeling less anxious after the first session and less leg pain after the first and last session. Only the massage therapy group, however, reported reduced anxiety, improved mood, better sleep and less back pain by the last day of the study. In addition, urinary stress hormone levels (norepinephrine) decreased for the massage therapy group and the women had fewer complications during labor and their infants had fewer postnatal complications (e.g., less prematurity).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / prevention & control*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Massage / methods*
  • Norepinephrine / urine
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology
  • Pregnancy Complications / urine
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Relaxation Therapy*
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / urine
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Norepinephrine